Flying Fingers - do we really need to care?

Have been thinking a lot about flying fingers lately, and, although good technique for sure, does it really matter for a hobbyist bassist like most of us are?

I agree we should learn the fundementals properly but at some point, if you get the song out and it sounds great, good groove, etc…who really cares if your fingers do their own thangs.

A few reference points…

…and flying plucking fingers…

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Good point and I agree, @John_E :arrow_up:

If we all live long enough, we could get our techniques down flawlessly . . . :roll_eyes:

It IS important to start off developing good habits, flying fingers included, but I think that for the vast majority of us, if we can play a song correctly, and it sounds good, that’s what matters the most . . . :slight_smile:

Worrying too much about fine points of technique too early in the game may take away a lot of the fun and enjoyment of actually playing bass.

Cheers
Joe

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I’ll tell you who cares - YouTube video makers, comment leavers, and uptight bass forum operators.
Bass teachers care a bit… but when you’re actually working with a student, the specifics of each student’s hands/body/ability shows you pretty quick what technique bits to emphasize and which ones to leave.

There’s something about the learning process when people are armed with the internet and infinite resources that makes it real tempting to micro-focus on every aspect of technique.

Here’s to loosening up, playing what feels good, and checking in on technique when you hit a wall. NOT when you find a video where some random starts preaching a hardcore bass technique gospel.
Beware fundamentalism in all of its forms!

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I agree completely with the concept; if you get the notes and groove correct, and it sound good, that’s more important than how purdy you look playing it.
“The proof is in the pudding”, as the saying goes.

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My pet peeve here is commenters that harsh on people for looking at the fretboard.

Look, I enjoy looking at the fretboard while playing. Go pester someone else.

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It’s not like we have a huge crowd of groupies to look at :joy:

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I’m shoegazing!

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My personal preference is to do things in the easiest, most efficient way possible… so right from the start i spent a lot of time on muting and keeping my fingers on or as close as possible to the strings. It’s not that difficult to learn to do things properly. Everyone else can do whatever they like; if you want to flail your arms about as you walk, that’s up to you… i dont care :slight_smile:

Worrying about things from the start is easier than trying to fix them later and I don’t find it hurts my fun and enjoyment of playing bass.

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I never look at my fretboard except for my fretless bass… it’s just not THAT interesting :smiley: and it makes it tough to read music :stuck_out_tongue:

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Speak for yourself, man. :smirk:
…okay, I don’t have groupies, either. Unless you count my 6-year-old daughter. Who usually tells me I’m being too loud. :slight_smile:

Not that I’ve completely conquered the flying fingers thing by any stretch – I will say it does make a difference when you want to play faster, to work “in close” with the fretboard. Here’s the kicker though – as I’ve gone on working with just how lightly my fingers actually need to be pushing on the strings, it’s naturally killed my tendency to make them fly away. Also, keeping my fingers flat due to wanting to kill off lingering harmonics and improve my muting tends to force them closer by default. So it’s kinda like one good thing begets another?

…To the point: these are all techniques you don’t learn right away, so getting hung up on flying fingers at the beginning would absolutely kill a beginner’s drive to play, if that’s what they were told to focus on. I agree with the majority opinion that it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker when it comes to playing. Just keep yourself comfortable (and safe) while having a good time.

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Exactly my point, @chordsykat . . . :slight_smile:

Cheers
Joe

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One name, Jamerson…played with one finger, who knows what the others were doing. Was someone going to tell him to do things differently?

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Who would tell him? He was one of the first playing electric bass guitar and the internet didn’t exist yet :smiley:

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I’m not sure I follow. When Josh (and others) talk about flying fingers, this is referencing the fretting hand fingers.

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, this video describes what Josh is talking about when he says flying fingers.
5 Levels of Bass Finger Exercise (Beginner to Advanced)

Based on that, Davey doesn’t have flying fingers. He moves his hand to a more comfortable position when playing the lowest frets taking his ring and pinky fingers out of playing position but when he does this he isn’t usually using those fingers anyway. When he plays middle to higher on the neck and the piece calls for it, his fingers aren’t flying at all. This is really me being super nit picky critical in an effort to try and understand what you mean. Normally, I would just say Davey is an amazing player.

For the second video, I would say that is a good example of someone who has eliminated flying fingers completely.

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Sometimes I wonder if people make too big of shit about things like this… Over time we all develop into the players we develop ourselves into…

I remember many months ago a thread on this site was started asking “Who do you wanna play like?”… All had some sort of reply, but there were a couple of us who replied “I wanna play like ME”…

Who really gives a rats ass on bullshit that means nothing to the “personal” development of anyone learning to play an instrument?? Damn, you don’t gotta tell someone that they’re great, and you don’t gotta tell them that they’re bad… You don’t gotta tell them anything other than to “Keep on Thumpin’!”… Hell, anyone with half an ear (that’s me) can tell when something is off, and most times all it takes is for someone to just “Keep on Thumpin’!” In order for them to develop on their own…

I will always wanna “Play like me”… I’m not one who likes to follow “rules”… I don’t give a shit about theory or anything else since I have always played by ear and that’s what puts a smile on my face… Isn’t THAT what ju it’s all about??? Hell, I’m a 68 YO Vietnam Vet… I could care less if my fingers are “Flying”… Hell, I’m just glad that the damn things are still able to move!!..

Take ‘er Deep… and…
Keep on Thumpin’!

Lanny

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You sir, are reading waaaaay to much into the videos. :woozy_face:

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Amen @Griff

I think we all agree so far, there are way more important things to a hobbyist bassist.
I get keeping the fingers down is more efficient, but, isn’t developing as a player without working so hard to keep the flying fingers down more efficient to get to the goal we most all are after?

From now on, I am going to fly my fingers with pride, and if anyone says anything, they get a very special flying finger just for them. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Yes, yes, and yes again!!! It all takes practice and time to develop our “own” skill set and fill our “own” toolboxes with the skills that we have learned over time…

Playing an instrument and making music is a great thing… It’s SUPPOSE to be a “personal” expression of sorts… Learning the “basics” is a good thing, but developing into the player that can express “Your” own personal feelings and expressions is a truly great thing!!

My problem with learning a new instrument these days is that it begins to develop into a “Learn to do it MY WAY” kinda thing… @JoshFossgreen Josh has not done this in training all of his beginners and I appreciate that - especially since I came from many years of guitar playing… His Beginner course is the greatest!!! What’s sad is when others begin to step in and bring in things like this that kinda piss me off…

The one best thing that @JoshFossgreen Josh taught me in his course was that “I could do it”… He taught me how to go about moving forward “on my own” to learn and explore as an independent bass player. Over time, this has worked. I still play my six string guitars, and I ALWAYS play my bass, but learning, practicing, and playing music is what it’s all about… Who the F@$k cares about anything else???

Keep on Thumpin’!
Lanny

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as far as I understand it the flying fingers thing comes into play if you play a style that requires some crazy efficiency. so mostly shredding I assume, which is absolutely the last thing I personally want to do.

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